As we get older, we are at an increased risk of falling. Falls and slips are very common. 1 in 3 of those living at home over 65 will fall at least once a year.
The most common causes of falls in the elderly is down to wet or recently polished floors. The bathroom being the most common place to fall.
Why are falls inevitable?
They are not completely inevitable, but highly likely. There are a number of reasons why older people are more likely to fall. The natural process of aging means everything starts to deteriorate. So even if someone is healthy and without illness, aging will have an effect on your body, meaning you will be susceptible to falls.
Impaired vision becomes more common with age. Glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration can create blurred, low and complete lack of vision.
Muscles weaken and joints may stiffen. Chronic health conditions such as heart disease, dementia and hypotension can all cause dizziness and poor balance. Ear inflammation from common colds can also affect your balance.
How to prevent falls in later life?
Those reading this that are not 60 or over, there are changes which could help prevent falls in later life. The healthier you are, the less likelihood of a slip occurring. If you eat well exercise regularly and keep this up into your 60’s you will be helping yourself later in life. If you can get to 65 without any chronic heart or other type of disease then the odds of falling will be lower. However, when you get past 60 the normal process of aging will still put you at risk slightly unless the environment is changed to accommodate you.
Change the environment..
The bathroom should be the first place to make safe. The most common area for older people to slip or fall is the bathroom. A bathroom remodel is often the best way to make it safe.
Slippery flooring, water, condensation create the perfect environment for accidents to happen. Stepping into and getting out of baths can also be a problem for the elderly due to balance issues. There have been many stories over the years of elderly people being stuck in their baths for days on end. So, if and elderly person has an old bath that they have to step over to get into this should be changed.
A level access shower with a non-slip shower tray or wet room is a much safer option. Showers and wet rooms are very stylist today and with grab rails strategically placed and shower stools, make them safe and a joy to use. Our great range of walk in shower enclosures and wet-rooms are designed for the elderly and disabled. If you look at the pictures you can see they are stylish and practical but also what the whole family can enjoy. A bathtub to shower conversion is pretty straight forward and normally only takes a day.
If you still want the ability and benefits of soaking in hot bath, our walk in bathtubs are the perfect solution. Baths that are conventional in size but have a walk in facility. Assisted baths with automatic transfer are also available. Walk in baths and level access showers can easily be installed in any sized bathrooms quickly within one day.
Non slip bathroom flooring elderly is a must. There are plenty of slip resistance vinyl’s and ceramic tiles on the market. There are also slip resistant mats which are quite good. What needs to be considered is how the elderly person is getting about. Do they use a walker, cane or wheelchair? If they do then matts could be more of a hindrance and a whole new floor would be the safest option. But there are plenty of affordable bathroom slip resistant flooring available.
With eye sights not as they once were, ensuring you have the correct lighting is paramount. Good bright lighting that is easily accessible. As well as normal ceiling lights which should bright, adding motion sensor lights are becoming popularity. You can get motion sensor night lights that can be placed anywhere around the house including bathrooms. Special toilet night light sensors are also available. Using efficient LED lights, they automatically come on turn off after no motion detection.
The rooms where you spend most of your time can also be a hazard. Many people over the year’s become hoarders. Years of collecting ‘stuff’ and years of not bothering to have a clear out. So a good de-clutter is the best way to make living spaces safer. People get attached to things and can’t bare to let them go. They need to realise that its their health and safety that should come first.
Kitchens need to be clutter free to be safe. Again they might have far too many never used cooking ware which are filling up the cupbaords. Having a good de-clutter is essential in the kitchen. Think realistically, if it hasnt been used in the past year, the odds of it being used again are slim. Bright lighting and non slip flooring is again a must. Cabinets should all be in easy reach. Heavy items should be stored at waist level. Modern kitchens have low drawer type cupboards which are strong and easy to access. You can add things like Lazy Susan’s which make accessing corner cabinets easier. High cabinets that cannot be reached shouldn’t be.
The healthier you are, the less likelihood of a slip occurring. If you eat well exercise regularly and are of a positive disposition, you are half way there. However even someone ticking all those boxes could still have an accident if the environment isn’t slip friendly. If you are not in the old age category yet and are helping someone who is, now is a great time to look at your own health. Are you eating well, getting regular exercise? Yes I know its boring, but lets face it a good percentage of illness is unknowing self inflicted by our life style choices. If we all want to live to a long healthy life then we have to decide if what we are doing is going to help or hinder us in the future. We have all seen these sprightly 90 year olds doing Yoga on social media so we know its attainable. It is all about the choices we make today.
For those caring for the elderly a little compassion is needed. Many elderly people get very stubborn and are unwilling to accept they need a bit of help. Plus they don’t like change. A little tact is required. By trying to get them to understand that change is good. A few simple changes could seriously reduce the risk of slips and falls. When an elderly person falls they can do a lot more damage than a younger person. So it is important to get through to them that to keep them in their homes for longer, their environment needs to change. Because muscles become weaker as we age, exercise is more important. Just some simple easy daily exercises can help improving muscle ability. Suggest they join a group or offer to create a stretching routine for them and encourage them to keep at it.
If you’re interested in finding out more about preventing falls with the help of Walk in Showers and Baths, call us on 0800 612 5954. Let the experts take the headache away and put your relatives in a safer environment.